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Sport Chess Magnus Carlsen

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Carlsen inches closer to Norway Chess title

World champion Magnus Carlsen is on the verge of winning his first Norway Chess title. REUTERS/Babu

World champion Magnus Carlsen cemented his lead in the Norway Chess tournament after beating former world champion Vladimir Kramnik in the seventh round on Wednesday.

Playing white, Carlsen outwitted Kramnik in 50 moves in the Queen’s Gambit declined game. With five points in his kitty and just two rounds left, the 25-year-old is the overwhelming favourite to win the tournament.

The other decisive game of the round was between Levon Aronian and Pavel Ejanov which was won by Aronian in 45 moves. Aronian is one of the four players in second place with four points.

Aronian is joined by Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Veselin Topalov and Pentala Harikrishna.

Vachier-Lagrave drew against Hariskrishna in an exciting Grunfeld game while Topalov too settled for a draw against Anish Giri.

Though Vachier-Lagrave is one point behind Carlsen in the standings, he has exhibited attacking chess throughout the tournament. He beat Anish Giri in a brilliant Sicilian game and pushed Carlsen hard in the earlier round.

The tournament was marked by the last-minute withdrawal of Sergey Karjakin who recently won the Candidates’ tournament making him eligible to challenge for the world title.

Karjakin had won the Norway Chess tournament in 2013 and 2014.